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Kullervo's story is dark and violent; while the sections Sibelius composed do not form a cohesive narrative, they do convey the hero's tragedy. Raised by his family's enemies, he supposes himself an orphan but, blessed with magical powers, foils their attempts on his life and escapes. Wandering alone, he discovers his parents and siblings, though one sister is missing. Sent on a sleigh-ride, he overtakes three maidens, who refuse his invitation to join him; however, he abducts and seduces the third, only to learn that she is his lost sister. In despair, she kills herself; Kullervo goes into battle yet survives, but returning home finds his family dead and falls upon his sword.
This turbulent, brooding tale seems eminently suited to Sibelius' somber, often bombastic style, beginning with the long orchestral introduction whose ominous low instruments presage what's to come. Supporting the poem's reiterations with obsessively repeated motives and phrases, the music illustrates and underlines the story's events and emotions: vengeful defiance, boisterous joy and triumph, desperate lamentation. The orchestration is rich and colorful, swooping up and down from whispers to crashes. The performance is admirable; the vocal parts demand an almost constantly high level of dynamics, and just learning the Finnish text is an extraordinary achievement. --Edith Eisler
|2. Kullervo's Youth|
|3. Kullervo and His Sister|
|4. Kullervo Goes to Battle|
|5. Kullervo's Death|
But for my tastes it wasn't really the thing thought to be.
Sibelius is excellent and so is the recording, it is just not the moving or spiritual vehicle pictured from the... Read more
One of the best renditions I have heard on SACD. Great recording. Nothing else needs to be said. Highly Recommend !Published on November 17, 2011 by A. Jayaprasad